What is an emergency? Unlike beauty, which is in the eye of the beholder, many problems may appear to be panic-button problems that are not.
A dog with a sudden loss of color in its mucous membranes is an emergency. So is a dog wills depression accompanied by a subnormal temperature, say? A sudden high fever with depression may indicate a problem with the temperature-regulating mechanism or the onset of an acute bacterial infection, such as pneumonia. Of course, heatstroke is a true emergency. An injury frost-san automobile or from a fall frosts a high place may or may not need emergency treatment, depending on the signs displayed. Lacerations that bleed profusely and cannot be controlled are obvious emergencies. The known ingestion of a toxic substance is an obvious reason to seek emergency care, but usually, this is not observed. If you should sea dog lapping the radiator fluid, ethylene chloride, that is an immediate emergency and not one in which to watch for signs a day or two later.
There are many problems that to a concerned owner are presumptive emergencies but for the dog less than critical. A puppy vomiting roundworms six inches long may seem like an emergency, but it usually is not. A dog suddenly snorting with a reverse cough sounds serious but is not. Nor is the onset of kennel cough, where spasms of coughing arc followed by a nonproductive gag.
Cuts and lacerations that do not bleed much are not emergencies and can wait until morning. A broken nail is uncomfortable and may cause limping but it is not a panic-button situation.
Dogs can survive about 75 percent of their problems without help. The trick is to identify the remaining 25 percent, as it is in this group that lives can be saved and serious complications prevented. In questionable cases, veterinarians appreciate being contacted to make a value judgment.
Playthings should be too large to swallow and indestructible.
A dog was placed in a car and tied to the headrest. The driver left the area for a few minutes and the pet jumped out of the car window. Another member of the family, seeing the dog lose, ran out and snapped a long chain on the collar with the other end around a tree, not observing the leash leading into the car window. The driver returned and drove off. The dog died two days later from its broken neck. A dog that jumped fences was tied to a fence and left. It jumped the fence and was found, hanged, on the other side.
A dog, tied halfway up the staircase, jumped over the handrail and was found dead when the owners returned.
A dog chewed an electric cord. The children saw smoke coming out of its mouth and called their mother, who pulled the electric plug. (Never touch the electrified pet.) This dog survived, although plastic surgery was necessary to close the hole that burned through the bone of the roof of the mouth.
A dog retrieved a large Fourth of July firecracker. It survived after weeks of intravenous and stomach tube feeding, but will never taste its food again.
- A dog that leaped from a hotel’s seventh-story fire escape landed on grass and suffered only bruises.
- A dog licking a can partially opened with the lid pushed inside nearly amputated its tongue.
An elastic band on the tail, neck, or leg cuts like a knife, only more slowly.
Acting as if in a seizure, swinging its lowered head from side to side, a heavy-coated dog was presented as u A.M. emergency. Its lower front teeth were caught in a snarl in the long hair of its chest.
A ball large enough to enter the back of a dog’s throat, but too large to swallow, blocked the airway, resulting in death.
A board was tossed for a dog to retrieve. It split and a splinter was forced beside the base of the tongue into the neck. The splinter was seven inches long.
Permanent radiator antifreeze, ethylene chloride, is sweet tasting. Beware of an overheated radiator that overflows on the ground; a lap or two of the liquid is often lethal.
And don’t feed a dog from a car’s hubcaps. They contain cadmium, which can kill dogs.
Experimenting with pills purchased from a drug pusher, some people poison their dogs, sometimes fatally.
A dog permitted loose and unattended in the neighborhood eventually found garbage with tainted food it could not vomit. It might have been a rodent killed with a toxic substance.
A hound was caught in a steel-jawed trap for forty-eight hours through the worst blizzard of the Connecticut winter and survived, andes-en uses the leg without toes.
See more: Dog Euthanasia